10/18/2007 12:00AM

West Coast Swing will stay perfect

EmailNEW YORK - Granted, it is the Saturday before the Breeders' Cup. But it says a lot about what slots money has done for racing at Charles Town that this little track in West Virginia will host the two richest stakes events in the nation: the $500,000 West Virginia Breeders Classic, and the $350,000 Cavada.

Raven Run

There are a lot of ways for bettors to go in this seven-furlong race at Keeneland, which means that betting value should be readily available.

That's good, because I like West Coast Swing, whose odds should be very acceptable even if she is one of the betting favorites. West Coast Swing is undefeated after three starts, and she showed two starts back, when she won an allowance race at Arlington by nearly 11 lengths in good time, that going seven furlongs on a synthetic track is certainly no problem. But it was West Coast Swing's most recent effort that really makes her appealing here. That was a decisive victory in the Prairie Meadows Oaks, in which she scored going away over Tessa Blue.

The form of West Coast Swing's Prairie Meadows Oaks got a huge boost when Tessa Blue came back to win the Indiana Oaks by more than seven lengths over Boca Grande, who has been competitive with top class fillies. Tessa Blue earned a strong Beyer Figure of 102. I also like that West Coast Swing is cutting back in distance Saturday off a two-turn race. That will give her a good foundation, which is always important on Polytrack, and often important in the final furlong of seven-furlong races.


This feature at Delaware Park attracted a field of only six, but I find it an interesting betting race because the favorite, Cave's Valley, is vulnerable. Cave's Valley won his debut at Saratoga in flashy style, and as a result, he was 2-5 last time out in Delaware's Whirling Ash Stakes. And while Cave's Valley did have to deal with a bit of a rough trip, he was life and death to prevail in a three-way photo after being in close attendance to an extremely slow early pace.

Ready Set is a go for me here. Ready Set's most recent outing, a distant ninth in the Grade 1 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity, is a throw-out, as he pretty much lost whatever chance he had when he steadied behind an injured rival on the backstretch. In his first two starts, however, Ready Set did show potential. He finished third in his debut at Saratoga behind subsequent Hopeful winner Majestic Warrior, and Mythical Pegasus, who came back to be a close third in the Futurity. Ready Set followed with a 10-length maiden romp going two turns over the same track he will compete on Saturday.

Hudson Handicap

A lot of horses in this stakes at Belmont like to operate on or close to the early pace. The thing is, the potential closers - I'm a Numbers Guy, Gold and Roses, and Executive Search - aren't especially trustworthy. I'm a Numbers Guy, while sharp, will have to come from farther back than he may be comfortable doing. Gold and Roses doesn't seem as sharp as he was when he won this race last year, while Executive Search lacks a winning profile.

In situations like this, I will take the speed of the speed, and that is Stormin Normandy. Stormin Normandy won laughing in fast time in both of his starts this year since moving into Rick Dutrow's barn. The fact that Stormin Normandy will be running back on the shortest rest of his career is taken as an indication that he has never been healthier.